Toyota Classics garners $80,000
By Aziz Idris & Azrol Azmi

A sum of $80,000 was raised in the Toyota Classics 2011 orchestral concert organised by NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd and Toyota Motor Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd last night, which proved to be a sell-out. On the same night, the amount raised, which was borne out of proceeds from the sale of tickets at prices ranging from B$30 to $150, was donated to three local beneficiary organisations.

Of the total amount raised, $32,000 was donated to Learning Ladders Society, while another $32,000 donation was made to Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam. The Believe Youth Association, meanwhile, received $16,000.

The donations were handed over in a presentation ceremony held prior to the start of the concert, at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

Featuring in this year's instalment of the Toyota Classic concert series was the renowned Northeast German Philharmonic Orchestra in what was their second appearance on Brunei soil.

Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah consented to present the mock cheques to representative from each of the three recipient organisations. Representing Learning Ladders Society was its Chairman, Dato Paduka Hj Abd Rahman Hj Mohiddin, while Dato Paduka Mohd Alimin Abdul Wahab, the Acting Chairman and Senior Trustee of Pusat Ehsan received the donation on behalf of the centre. The Believe Youth Association was represented by Amalina binti Abdullah, the association's president.

In his welcoming remarks, the Managing Director of NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd, Ninan Chacko said that the record number of 17 Toyota Classics organised by NBT (Brunei) "represents a good indication of the outstanding support and charitable spirit of the Bruneian public".

Mr Chacko thanked Her Royal Highness for her "continued support and generosity" in making the event a success. The audience of more than 200 people was captivated by the melodious performance of the Northeast German Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Conductor Thomas Dorsch and accompanied by a total 43 professional artists who strummed their instruments in perfect harmony.

Among the feature musicians last night were Vasko Vassilev, a celebrated violin soloist who hails from Bulgaria, and Piano Soloist and Composer/Arranger Pamela Nicholson, who is the mother of worldwide pop phenomenon, Vanessa-Mae.

The Northeast German Philharmonic Orchestra holds a diverse repertoire that extends from the classical period to contemporary music, with special emphasis given to the music of Scandinavian composers. The orchestra has an enormous programme of concerts, music theatre productions and ballets.

In last night's concert, the music scholars started with an upbeat tune, "Toccata and Fugue", followed by a euphoric melody called "Carmen's World - Habanera (Love Song - Live Fast, Die Young)" and a popular tune "Po Kare Kare Waltzing Matilda" before a symphonic number from a combination of overlaid virtuoso parts for piano, violin and electric guitar called "Voodoo".

The night also saw several other classical music performances, as well as traditional Malay instrumentals such as "Joget Lagu Dua" and "Kalungan Salindang".

The Toyota Classics is an annual classical music series organised by NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd and also a charity event that raises funds for beneficiary organisations. The first Toyota Classics organised in Brunei was back in 1993, and the series has continuously mesmerised Bruneians over the years. Past performances include the Orchestra Citta Di Firenze, Prague Chamber Orchestra and Vienna Operetta Orchestra. - Borneo Bulletin (27th Octopber 2011)